Jane Seymour had a decision to make. It was early 1992, and the actress who was getting divorced was struggling financially. Then came an offer for a 19th-century western about a progressive Boston doctor, Michaela “Mike” Quinn, who finds community in Colorado. A sitcom role was a possibility, but this job now needed her answer.
“I was at the bottom of the barrel and this [script] was just a piece of magic,” she recalls. “I thought, ‘If it has that effect on me, maybe it will have that effect on an audience.'” It did. Although many doubted that Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman would be successful if it ran for six seasons.
See also Jane Seymour & Joe Lando Stage ‘Dr. Quinn’ Reunion in Lifetime Holiday MoviePlus, Jodie Sweetin stars in ‘Merry Swissmas’.
As the beloved drama enters the FETV schedule on September 26 with four episodes daily – two at 1pm, two at 6:5am – the star shares her memories.
The only true
Seymour, the daughter of a surgeon, notes that at the start of the series, “My father had recently passed away and I said to the producers, ‘I want to make sure it’s correct to honor him.’ I really believed it had to be authentic.” The show was also socially relevant, covering hot topics like immigration, pollution, homosexuality and the treatment of Native Americans. “We took care of everything, in a way that you can talk to children or adults.”
dr Quinn was a surprise hit in the Saturday Night Rating quicksand, becoming a Top 20 show in its first season. As it gained popularity, viewers flocked to see the filming at California’s Paramount Ranch and Malibu Creek State Park.
“Anyone who wanted to could come out — and did,” says Seymour. “Sometimes all night! It was like live theater.” To this day, internet fan sites dedicated to the show keep the flame alive.
“When I pose in a photo with Joe Lando [who played rugged Byron Sully, Dr. Quinn’s love interest and eventual husband]it’s burning up the ether!” she jokes.
Charles Rush/CBS/Courtesy The Everett Collection
As production began, Seymour and her onscreen beau in real life clicked, “Joe and I are madly in love!” Their relationship faltered, but the characters’ bond grew, and the two closed in the special two-hour season three finale tying the knot, which Seymour recalls “making it really feel like a wedding.”
In a shopping spree, the actress found the fabric for Mike’s gown at Liberty department store in London, and Dr. Quinn’s costume designer created an eye-catcher. David Emanuel, who created Princess Diana’s iconic wedding dress with her then-wife Elizabeth, added the finishing touches. As Seymour says, “He ended up doing a bada-bing, bada-boom!”
“The beauty of a period piece is that it never ages,” notes Seymour. And while Season 2 of her Acorn TV series Harry Wild is in production, Seymour is also excited for a revival of Dr. quinn
“Who knows? One day maybe we can [make] what would dr Quinn, the next generation, 30 years later, represents a very interesting point in American history.” Count us among them!
dr Quinn, Medicine Woman, Daily, 1/noon c and 6/5c, FETV
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